New Plymouth, New Zealand

New Plymouth is a handsome, live-able city located on the Taranaki Peninsula on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Its name was a calculated attempt to attract immigrants from the region of Plymouth in the west of England. Port Taranaki is the only deep-water seaport on the North Island’s west coast and plays an important part in the industrial development of the region’s oil and gas resources. From the port area, a 7-mile (13 km) Coastal Walkway winds along the coastline along the city front and its beaches to the dramatic curved-rib architecture of the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge. In the distance stands the snow-capped pyramid of Mt. Taranaki, a site sacred to the local Maori. In the town center is the sprawling Pukekura Park, a lush botanical gardens with an Asian-style tea house. The Len Lye Centre is named after an artistic native son, one of whose works, the Wind Wand, consists of a 45-meter (148-ft.) red fiberglass mast that bends in response to the changing breezes. The centre incorporates the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. Also central is Puke Ariki, the world’s first fully integrated Museum and library. Further afield, the Pukeiti rhododendron park clings to the slopes of the Pouakai Range en route to Egmont National Park.